Wakefield Trinity travel to the Select Security Stadium on Friday night to face the Widnes Vikings in what has become a must win game for both sides if they are to avoid the Qualifiers.
Both teams are coming off the back of defeats at the Magic Weekend and will be hoping for the win to regain some form going into the back end of the regular season.
Denis Betts has made three changes to the squad that fell short against St Helens in Newcastle with Rhys Hanbury, Alex Gerrard and Jimmy Keinhorst, who has been recalled to his parent club Leeds during the week, dropping out.
Youngster’s Ed Chamberlain, Owen Farnworth and Jay Chapelhow, who played against Saints as a late replacement despite not being named in the original 19 man squad, come into the side for the Vikings.
Danny Craven is expected to deputise at full back in the absence of Hanbury, who picked up a hamstring injury at the weekend which will keep the experienced Australian out for a number of weeks.
Widnes Vikings 19-man squad: Ah Van, Wellington, Burke, Cahill, Chamberlain, Chapelhow, Craven, Farnworth, Gilmore, Heremaia, Johnstone, Leuluai, Marsh, Mellor, Olbison, Runciman, Walker, Whitley, Wilde.
Chris Chester has made just the two changes to the side that was narrowly beaten by the Huddersfield Giants at St James Park on Sunday.
Liam Finn and Matty Ashurst miss out for Trinity with youngster Max Jowitt and Chris Annakin, who has returned from injury, join the 19 man squad.
Craig Huby, who played at the Magic Weekend as a late replacement, misses out against Widnes.
Wakefield Trinity 19-man squad: Annakin, Arona, Batchelor, Caton-Brown, England, Fifita, Hampshire, Hirst, Horo, Johnstone, Jones-Bishop, Jowitt, Kirmond, Lyne, Miller, Pauli, Randell, Tupou, Wood.
HEAD TO HEAD
Widnes have won just one of the last five meetings between the two sides, with that victory coming almost two years ago back in August of 2016.
The last time Widnes and Wakefield met on the pitch, it was abandoned mid-game due to heavy snow in which players and spectators alike could barely see the action in front on them.
The last completed fixture saw Trinity come away with the two points as they dismantled the Vikings 8 – 36 on thier own turf.
Tries from Caton-Brown (2), Tupou (2), Arona and Sam Williams scored for Wakefield with Mellor getting over Widnes’ only try of the game.
KEY BATTLE – Joe Mellor v Jacob Miller
The key battle in this fixture comes from the respective #6’s of each side, Joe Mellor of Widnes and Jacob Miller of Wakefield.
Both players on their day can unlock the tightest of defences with a moment of magic but both have been quiet this season by their standards.
Widnes’ inability to replace the organiser at half back alongside Mellor has added the pressure of directing his side around the field at the cost of stifling his natural running game.
Mellor’s support play is up their with the best in Super League but the lack of chances Widnes create from deep and offloads the forwards are willing to try has meant the former Wigan man hasn’t shown his best form for some time.
Miller is completely unrecognisable from the player that originally arrived from Australia for Hull FC and has become one of the more destructive half back in Super League in recent years.
His performances have been part of why Wakefield have been a consistent top 8 side for the past couple of seasons and it’s no surprise that while Miller has had a dip in form, the side’s form has dipped too.
He is the heartbeat of the team, much like Mellor is for Widnes, and should both players play to the top of their game on Friday, the spectators at the Select Security Stadium are in for a treat.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday 25th May 2018
Venue: Select Security Stadium
Referee: R. Hicks
WHO WILL WIN?